Top world leaders will not be forced to take a bus to the Queen’s funeral on Monday, it has been learned.
Joe Biden, Emmanuel Macron and Japanese Emperor Naruhito are among those who are expected to receive exemptions from bus travel for “security reasons”.
German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Italian President Sergio Matarella, Canadian Justin Trudeau and Israeli Isaac Herzog could also be exempted.
It comes after a leaked document suggested all foreign leaders would be forced to take coaches from a secret location in west London to Westminster Abbey due to ‘heightened security and road restrictions’.
Joe Biden will be exempt from boarding a bus for Queen Elizabeth’s funeral on Monday for ‘security reasons’ (file image)
But a government source has since clarified the situation to The Times, saying it would clearly not be appropriate to ask the G7 leaders to “take a bus”.
Dignitaries are asked to be as flexible as possible, the source added.
More than 100 world leaders, heads of state and diplomats are expected to be invited to the service – the first full state funeral Britain has held since the death of Winston Churchill in 1965.
Macron and other G7 leaders will also be exempt, a government source added, saying a bus was not an appropriate means of transport.
All countries with which Britain has diplomatic relations have been invited, the Times reported, including North Korea which has an embassy in a house in west London.
The hermit kingdom should send an emissary to represent the country.
However, dignitaries from Russia – which has an embassy in London – were not invited, a Whitehall source said.
Putin had already confirmed that he would not go to the middle of the war in Ukraine, but now it seems that no representative of the country will be there.
Belarus, which also has an embassy in London but is Russia’s ally against Ukraine, was also not invited.
Dozens of leaders have already confirmed their attendance, including Irish President Michael D Higgins, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and Spanish King Felipe VI.
However, several big names have yet to say whether they will make the trip, including India’s Narendra Modi and China’s Xi Jinping.
Each state is permitted to send only one representative with their spouse due to space constraints within Westminster Abbey.
Japanese Emperor Naruhito, who rarely travels outside his home country, is expected to attend and be given a coach exemption
Buckingham Palace has the discretion to personally invite relatives of the royal family.
Travel rules mean that Biden will be free to take his armored Cadillac – nicknamed The Beast – to Westminster for the solemn ceremony.
The heavily armored car is designed to withstand attack by radioactive, biological or chemical weapons and contains several pints of the president’s own blood.
The funeral takes place at Westminster Abbey on Monday and King Charles III is due to welcome world leaders for a reception at Buckingham Palace the day before.
The event will be one of the largest security and logistics operations ever staged by the UK.
Thousands of police from across the country will be redeployed to London to help manage the expected huge crowds.
As well as world leaders and the royal family, up to a million people are expected to take to the streets of the capital in the four days before the funeral, when the Queen’s coffin will be displayed in parliament.
Westminster Abbey will host more than 100 heads of state and diplomatic representatives at the Queen’s state funeral on Monday
Visiting world leaders will be able to attend the state and sign a condolence book at Lancaster House immediately afterwards, according to the leaked Foreign Office dispatch report.
They will also be able to pay a tribute to the late queen for a maximum of three minutes, which will be recorded for the media, he said.
King Charles III would host a reception at Buckingham Palace for all foreign leaders present, the day before the funeral.
On the same day, visiting dignitaries will arrive at Westminster Abbey in coaches escorted from a site in west London where they will park.
“Heightened security and road restrictions” were cited as the reasons for the unusual requirements for foreign VIPs.